Robinhood vs Acorns: Is One Better?

Robinhood vs Acorns? With the introduction of online trading brokerages, the market has suddenly become very crowded. In the past, all we had were trading brokerages that were attached to big banks, but today, there is a long list of discount brokerage sites that offer the same services. Many of these platforms are completely digital, removing the need for brick and mortar locations. Lower business costs for the company usually means lower fees for users. These digital platforms have appealed to the younger generation of investors who are generally tech savvy and have less of an allegiance to big banks.

Robinhood vs Acorns 2022 Review

Robinhood vs Acorns

In this article, we take a look at two online finance tools with two different approaches to investing.

Robinhood vs Acorns have the same goal in mind: to help make investing simpler, especially for new investors.

While the two sites are not direct competitors, a review can also compare two different investing styles. In this case, you don’t have to pick the better choice, but you can find an investing strategy that works for you.

I’ll take a look at both sites and compare fees, investment options, account types, and more. Let’s take a closer look at both Robinhood and Acorns and determine which site is the better fit for you!

What Is Robinhood?

Robinhood vs Acorns

Robinhood vs Acorns? Robinhood is an online-based trading and investment platform that was established in 2013.

The company was founded in the heart of Silicon Valley in Menlo Park, California, by Vladamir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt.

You’ve likely heard of Tenev before as a key figure in the Reddit short squeeze event featuring GameStop (NYSE: GME) and AMC (NYSE: AMC). Indeed Robinhood has a controversial history and a checkered past with retail investors. 

Robinhood’s trading brokerage revolves around a mobile and desktop app. It made zero-commission trading the norm which definitely appealed to the millennial generation. But Robinhood also operates under the Payment for Order Flow system.

This means that the trades its users make are sent to institutions who pay for this data and receive it seconds before the trade is executed.

Robinhood went public on the NASDAQ exchange in July of 2021 under the ticker symbol NASDAQ: HOOD. Since its IPO, the stock has lost more than 70% of its value during the recent market correction. 

What Is Acorns?

Robinhood vs Acorns

Acorns is an American fintech company that launched in 2012 and provides incremental and passive investing strategies.

The company was founded by a father and son duo named Walter Cruttended III and Jeffrey James Cruttenden.

While Robinhood is a trading brokerage, Acorns is what is called a robo-investor. This means that after adding money to the account, Acorns will do most of the passive investing for the user. 

Acorns is a private company as of 2022. It had plans to go public via a SPAC merger, but the ongoing market weakness caused Acorns to reconsider. The company has over 9 million active users and has over $3 billion in total assets under management.

Acorns has some serious investors with skin in the game. This list includes Blackrock, PayPal, Rakuten, and celebrities like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Durant, and Ashton Kutcher. So Robinhood vs Acorns?

Robinhood vs Acorns: Robinhood Fees

Robinhood is one of the more reasonably priced trading platforms on the internet. It’s difficult to compare prices between the two apps since they have such different investing styles.

Robinhood has zero-commission trading which means transaction fees are a thing of the past. It does have a premium subscription cost of about $5.00 per month for Robinhood Gold.

With the Gold membership users receive access to margin trading, Level II market data from NASDAQ, and bigger deposits. The only other fee Robinhood has is an account transfer fee of $75.00 if you choose to leave the platform. In the Robinhood vs Acorns debate let’s look at Acorns fees.

Robinhood vs Acorns: Acorns Fees

Since Acorns does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, it is understandable why it has higher fees for users. Acorns charges account management fees of $3.00 per month for individuals and $5.00 for families.

Other than that, Acorns only other fee is the transfer fee which is $50.00. There is no charge to close your account and liquidate it. For passive investors, Acorns actually provides a lot of bang for your buck. 

Robinhood Investment Options

Between Robinhood vs Acorns, there is no contest when it comes to investment options. Robinhood is a full on trading platform which means it allows its users to take control of their own investments.

This means users can buy individual stocks, ETFs, and even trade options contracts if approved. Robinhood became popular with younger investors because of its no-fee options trading.

Most other brokerages charge a fee per options contract traded. Robinhood even allows users to buy fractional shares of companies. This comes in handy for smaller accounts who wish to invest in expensive stocks like Amazon or Tesla. 

Robinhood even allows users to invest in cryptocurrencies directly through its app. The Robinhood Crypto wallet also offers 0% trading fees for crypto transactions.

Its platform offers popular cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DogeCoin amongst others. Robinhood crypto offers industry-leading security and holds all crypto investments in cold storage. This helps to protect the site from crypto hackers and other malicious attacks.

Acorns Investment Options

Acorns definitely has a more structured way of investing for its users. It has a portfolio of pre-built funds that are created by risk tolerance. Essentially these are groups of different ETFs that help investors passively diversify their investment.

This is what is referred to as a robo-investor. This definitely helps out people who don’t follow individual stocks and simply want exposure to the market. Acorns does not allow users to buy individual stocks, fractional shares, or trade options. 

Acorns has recently added crypto investing to its platform. The site now offers the Bitcoin ETF where you can allocate up to 5% of your savings. The program is called Bits of Bitcoin and tracks the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF. This provides exposure to Bitcoin futures and not the actual token itself. So Robinhood vs Acorns? Let’s keep reading.

Robinhood Account Types

The different account types that are offered by either platform is indicative of their investing styles. Robinhood offers taxable brokerage trading accounts, as well as margin trading. There are no retirement savings or investing accounts on Robinhood as of right now. This shows how much Robinhood is geared towards young traders and not long-term investors. It is also something Robinhood has been criticized about in the past. Many believe the site is gamifying the stock market and forcing younger investors into riskier trading styles.

Acorns Account Types

Acorns is clearly a platform that is geared towards long-term investing. It offers traditional IRA accounts as well as its standard robo-advisor accounts. It also offers custodial and checking accounts, but does not have margin trading or taxable investing accounts. 

Robinhood App Review

As much criticism as Robinhood takes, it is difficult to argue with the clean and simple design of its app. It truly does make investing simple, and is refreshing, especially compared to the big-name brokerages on the market.

Robinhood’s app has a 4.2 Star rating on the iOS App Store, and is widely known as one of the easiest to trade on. When using the Robinhood app, it is easy to see how the platform is geared towards trading.

Everything is smooth and fast, and really does feel like trading from a video game. With that being said it is still one of the most intuitive and easy to use trading apps on the market. 

Acorns App Review

The same can be said for Acorns minus the active trading strategies. Acorns has a fast and simple to use app that has gained a 4.7 star rating on the iOS App Store. While Robinhood zooms out and focuses on the broader markets and trading individual stocks, Acorns zooms in on your own personal financial situation. Since much of the investing is done for you by the Acorns platform, the app is mostly to look at a real-time view of your investment progress. 

Conclusion: Robinhood vs Acorns

Robinhood vs Acorns? As you can see, both investing platforms have the same goal in mind but offer much different ways of getting there. If you are looking for a more dynamic trading experience, then Robinhood is likely the choice for you.

With Robinhood, you can actively trade individual stocks, options, and cryptos in a traditional brokerage environment. Its no-fee trading is extremely attractive to younger investors or those with smaller accounts. While the app is simple and clean, it is also designed for riskier trading strategies. 

Acorns is definitely the choice for passive investors who want to leave their money in someone else’s hands. With the robo-investor service, investors can just designate money to be transferred to Acorns.

The service will then allocate these funds across different ETFs depending on your risk-tolerance. Acorns is an excellent choice for investors looking for long-term capital growth with minimal effort. 

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